Paul W. Schroeder

Treaty of Versailles Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Albert J. Beveridge
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Paul W. Schroeder (born February 23, 1927)[1] is an American historian, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois, and professor at Case Western Reserve University.[2] He specializes in late-sixteenth- to twentieth-century European international politics, Central Europe, and the theory of history.

Schroeder was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Rupert H. Schroeder and Elfrieda Koch.[1] He attended Concordia Seminary (graduated 1951), Texas Christian University, and the University of Texas at Austin, where he received his doctorate in 1958.[1] He received the 1956 Beveridge Award for the best manuscript on American history submitted by a beginning historian.[3] He was an associate professor of history at Concordia Senior College from 1958 to 1963, after which he was hired at the University of Illinois.

In a 1972 essay entitled, "World War I as a Galloping Gertie", Schroeder contrary to established historical opinion and Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles laid the blame for the First World War on Britain's doorstep. Schroeder characterized the political events leading up to the war as a "Galloping Gertie," a metaphor which described political events as escalating out of control, pulling and pushing all five Great Powers into an unwanted war.[4] Schroeder's research highlighted the fact that Britain was engaged in an “encirclement" policy directed at the Austria-Hungary empire.[5] The British policy was not in keeping with the Congress System which had developed after the Napoleonic wars and was fundamentally anti-German, and even more so, anti-Austrian.[6] Britain's policy created an atmosphere in which Germany was forced into a "preventive war" to maintain Austria as an allied power.[7]

Apart from his scholarship, Schroeder has been a regular contributor to the magazine The American Conservative, writing strong critiques of the Bush administration's foreign policy (especially regarding the Iraq War) for its destabilizing, counterproductive effects. The internationalist, realist perspective of his critiques fits well with his favorable appraisals of the 19th-century Concert-of-Europe approach to international relations that Schroeder has offered as a model in his scholarship. Perry Anderson has called him "arguably the greatest living American historian" and said that his The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848 "revolutionised one of the most disgraced of all fields in the discipline, ... diplomatic history."[8]


  1. ^ a b c International Who's Who 2000, Vol. 63 (Europa, 1999: ISBN 1857430506), p. 1391.
  2. ^ Giubileo, Anna. "Paul Schroeder, beloved CWRU professor, retires after 14 years". The Observer. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  3. ^ AHA Award Recipients.
  4. ^ Schroder, Paul "World War I as a Galloping Gertie," pages 142-151 from The Outbreak of World War I edited by Holger Herwig, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997 page 144.
  5. ^ Schroder, "World War I As A Galloping Gertie," pp. 145-146.
  6. ^ Schroder, "World War I As A Galloping Gertie," pp. 148-149
  7. ^ Schroder, "World War I As A Galloping Gertie," pp. 149-150.
  8. ^ Perry Anderson, "The Force of the Anomaly," London Review of Books, Vol. 34 No. 8, 26 April 2012, p. 12.